Our new Manager of Special Projects, Strategic Initiatives and Sales, Martin Parker Jr. comes to Pivotal Growth Partners as a well-rounded utility player with a remarkable professional background. We’ll let him tell his story his way.
PGP: How did you find your way to PGP?
Martin Parker Jr.: I am originally from New Haven, Connecticut. I got a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Richmond where I played football for the Spiders. That’s where I met Casey Cooley! We were teammates and roommates. He got in contact with me recently to tell me about the opportunity to join the franchise growth team at PGP.
Throughout a professional career in sports, culinary, and service to others; I have gained the skills, teamwork mindset, and worth ethic that has set me up for success with Pivotal Growth Partners. am truly excited about and looking forward to what lies ahead on my journey with the PGP team.
PGP: Before finding us, what did you do?
MPJ: I played professional football in the National Football League for the New York Giants and the Seattle Seahawks from 2011 to 2013. I was blessed to be part of the New York Giants’ 2012 Superbowl Championship victory.
After I finished on the field, I did a lot of things: I was a line cook, a law enforcement officer at Yale, a Community Engagement Officer implementing special programs and creating positive relationships between the community and the police.
During my time as a Community Engagement Officer, I created Our New Haven Inc. nonprofit with the sole purpose of creating opportunities for first responders to get back to the service aspect of the profession and truly engage with the community in positive ways.
Later, I became a youth mentor at Friends of Island Academy in New York City working with incarcerated and previously incarcerated youth.
I also spent some time as a Project Specialist for Virginia Heals/Department of Social Services in Richmond, Va. As a Project Specialist, I helped roll out a state-wide service delivery model designed to help service providers align disparate systems of care, in addition to providing support and care to youths and families impacted by trauma and/or victimization.
PGP: How does all that experience translate to your role at PGP?
MPJ: As Manager of Special Projects, Strategic Initiatives and Sales , I’m going to be a kind of utility player on the team—doing a little of everything. I’ll help with project coordination and management, franchise sales and recruitment, adapting PGP projects and processes for improvement, locating and vetting new potential brand partners, leveraging my connections to the NFL as a liaison, integrating narrative science in lead flow AI and acting as a liaison to the law enforcement community.
Overall, my goal is to help new operators and brands not only achieve dreams they have set for themselves and their businesses, but also create dreams they’ve yet to conceptualize. We pride ourselves on being true brand advocates here at PGP. That is what makes PGP different. We put the franchisees first and, in return, they will take care of the brand.
It brings me joy knowing that a place like PGP exists, where the value of an operator or brand isn’t determined by their standing but their potential to help change their lives and the lives of those within their communities to heights they couldn’t have previously imagined.
PGP: What can our brands look forward to when working with you?
MPJ: I thrive on new challenges and creating innovative ways to accomplish goals. I have spent most of my professional life in the service of others. I’ve risked my own life as a first responder, championed important social and quality of life issues, and given a voice to the most vulnerable as a youth advocate.
Here at PGP, I do not plan for that to change. I always put the team before myself. The operator and the brand will always come first and will always have my full attention. I will go above and beyond what is needed in service of the operators and brands who partner with us. I plan to use all of my experiences to help others reach their goals and to ultimately be the brand advocate they need.
PGP: Enough business! Tell us more about you.
MPJ: My wife Natalia and I love traveling and being in the outdoors, especially near the beach. That came together perfectly at our wedding in Riveria Maya, Mexico in 2018. We and our Huskey, Boots, are all so proud of and looking forward to the birth of our first child this May!